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Tips for Choosing a Successful Project Management Methodology

The best project managers do more than oversee a project from start to finish: they also anticipate project risks, come up with problem-solving solutions, and guide the teams through unforeseen hiccups throughout the project phases all while maintaining important deadlines and project objectives.

How does a great project manager do all of these things? Generally, it starts with a deep understanding of the project’s foundation. How can you build success from the ground up? What are risks that could pop up along the way? Identifying weaknesses is just as important as highlighting a project’s strength in successful project implementation.

The project management methodology you choose is vital to your project’s success. No two projects are the same, so even if you have a preferred project management methodology already, it doesn’t mean it will be effective every time. This methodology will help you streamline your project objectives and solve problems as you go.

Read on to learn more about some of the most popular project management styles and how they can help (or hurt) your project’s success!

6 Popular Project Management Styles

Before you choose a specific project management methodology, ask yourself what your project’s main objective is and what you are willing to risk to get there. Are you willing to risk hurting user experience in order to speed up a project timeline? If quality is the most important objective of your project, then speed may take a hit.

Here are 6 of the most popular project management styles:

1. Waterfall

If quality is your main objective, the waterfall project management style is a safe bet for you. This is one of the most popular project management styles, although it is becoming outdated due to the digital revolution. Since this project style moves in waves, with phases only beginning when the previous phase has been completed, it has an extremely slow speed–but is sometimes necessary. Construction projects embrace this method since they need each phase to be completed before they begin the next build.

2. Agile

If speed is the most important element in your project, then the agile method may be for you. If you are rushing a competitor to live for a product, this will help you hit deadlines on time. In Facebook’s beginning stages, its mantra was “move fast and break things” as they prioritized being live first and fine-tuning later.

To get a project completed on or ahead of schedule, break up tasks among numerous teams and team members and have them work to complete their tasks at the same time. Digital has made this easier to accomplish, with project management software and communication tools simplifying the process.

3. Kanban

If your project is in or similar to an assembly line structure, Kanban may be the method for you. This style also focuses on speed and simplification. Can you combine tasks or eliminate some tasks altogether? You can maximize your project’s efficiency by streamlining whenever possible. Factories embrace this ideology, especially when advances in technology and machinery simplify and speed up output.

4. Lean

Is user experience vital to your project’s goal? If so, use the lean project management method to emphasize quality. You don’t have to sacrifice speed altogether, but you’ll prioritize thinking of ways to streamline tasks without sacrificing customer experience. Amazon has done a great job prioritizing user experience while still breaking barriers quickly.

5. Six Sigma

Emphasizing evaluations can help you identify when a certain project management style is working. The six sigma method focuses heavily on performance reviews in order to improve product quality over time. Once the delivery phase of the project is complete, six sigma does an evaluation to see how effectively you accomplished your main objective. You can combine this methodology with Lean management or Kanban.


Before your project begins, use the PRINCE2 method to see how many tasks you can juggle at once within a given project without increasing project risks or sacrificing quality.

Check out the helpful animation from Fundera to learn even more about popular project management styles, how they’re used, and what the pros and cons of each are.

Everything You Need to Know About Project Management Methodologies

Author Bio

Meredith Wood is Editor-in-Chief at Fundera. Specializing in financial advice for small business owners, Meredith is a current and past contributor to Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, SCORE, AllBusiness and more. You can connect with her on LinkedIn

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